Letters to the Editor


Tribalism at the Ministry of Agriculture?

Dear editor,

Good men will not create a new Gambia, if they have to work against odds because the institutional factors constitute stumbling blocks to progress and social justice, because they promote uncontrolled tribal-favouritism, excessive materialism, inefficiency and do not compel the proper use of human resources. On the other hand government institutional factors will not be changed unless there is a change in the heart and change in the values of men, a change in the human factor. To create a new Gambia we need to change the two factors, the human and the institutional. Otherwise, we might as well bring Yaya Jammeh back and stay a “damned nation forever and ever more”!


Omar Amadou Jallow as Omar Amadou Jallow (aka OJ) has all the rights to reject working with anyone including Ousman Jammeh. But Omar Amadou Jallow as Minister of Agriculture, employed and paid by the Government of the Republic of The Gambia to reject working with an extensively trained, highly qualified, experienced and speck less charactered Ousman Jammeh appointed by the Public Service Commission (PSC) through the recommendation of the Personnel Management Office (PMO) and the Secretary General, Office of the President, Government of the Republic of The Gambia in favour of Assan Jallow, Omar Jallow’s less well trained and inexperienced tribal-choice, is unimaginable and frowned upon. The fact that it has happened and supported by the governing establishment, that is, the Public Service Commission, Personnel Management Office and the Secretary General, office of the President is disappointingly disheartening. OJ has not said anything convincing to justify rescinding the appointment.

The PSC appointed Ousman Jammeh as Permanent Secretary 1 on December 5, 2017 only to rescind his appointment based on the Minister’s objection. Somehow, on December 12, 2017 Ousman was offered a downgraded but much more critical, sensitive and challenging appointment based on Executive Order as Director General, Department of Agriculture. Is the Gambia in knowledgeable and safe hands? No! Does the Establishment know what it is doing? No! The Minister cannot work with Ousman Jammeh as PS 1 but can work with him as the Director General, Department of Agriculture, responsible for all on-farm as well as related technical activities of the Ministry of Agriculture. This is the man who should eventually advice the Minister on all policy related technical issues. If this is an Executive Order then The New Gambia is either missing the trees because of the forest or missing the forest because of the trees and, consequently, socio-economic development aspirations are pretty shaky and questionable.

When individuals appointed to sensitive positions in society fail in their responsibilities, when men fail to set up the appropriate institutions and live by the institution’s requirements, a sick society is created and, chances are, that society may eventually react negatively. Disillusioned with the Minister and his tribal and unprofessional tactics and disappointed with the State Establishment that has failed to sanction Minister O.J. for overstepping his limits, is an indication of worst things to come.


When a ruling politician like OJ and his tribal leaning administrative support staff are stagnant in their conceptions and bound by ancient patterns of thought, then you have a stagnant society. In this ultra modern world a stagnant entity has to die. The crux of the matter is, because OJ and his administration have failed Gambians in this short period, due to ignorance, incompetence and tribalism, they have resorted to Yaya Jammeh type cheap politics by telling Gambians through Minister OJ that, a) the country will not import rice in 2 to 3 years time; b) agriculture will be mechanized, and c) cooperatives will be established all over. It is indeed most lamentable that by and large OJ and his very weak administrative support staff are promoting the failed experience of Yaya Jammeh because they have refused to learn from the experience of experts.


It is necessary for New Gambia to be aware that success in agriculture is a fundamentally long-term proposition. It can either be hindered by actions that render the nation’s agricultural institutions ineffectual or greatly accelerated by processes that lead to clear priorities, that provide continuity to decision making, and that assist the implementation of sound policies.

A concern person